Gone are the days of clicking "display images below" in Gmail, because Google's free email service will soon show images in your messages by default.
In a post on the official Gmail blog, John Rae-Grant, a product manager at Google, explained why Gmail has always asked users before showing images. It's simply, really - to protect them from malware images that might compromise the security of their computer or mobile device.
How can an image comprise anything, you may ask? It all comes down to servers. Rae-Grant said Gmail would now serve all images through its own secure proxy servers. That's notable because Gmail relied on external host servers, previously.
"Thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images, you’ll soon see all images displayed in your messages automatically across desktop, iOS and Android," added Rae-Grant. "With this new change, your email will now be safer, faster and more beautiful than ever."
Thus, in a nutshell, Gmail emails will not only be less cumbersome (because they finally show images), but they'll also be far more safe. Google will check images for known viruses or malware - and that tedious “display images below” link will become a thing of the past. Kind of.
Should you prefer the old Gmail way, you can still authorise images to display on one-off basis. Just turn on the “Ask before displaying external images” option under the General tab in Settings.
Image proxying will roll out on the desktop version of Gmail from today, though Gmail's mobile apps won't receive the update until early 2014.